Where do I even begin here?! This place is 300000% my FAVOURITE place to eat in Derbyshire – I am aware that is a bold statement, but if you haven’t been, what are you doing? Make plans to go there ASAP. It’s a bank holiday weekend this weekend, we are in for a scorcher, what better place to spend it than by the river in their beautiful beer garden enjoying some delicious, unique and freshly prepared tapas food served by the nicest people you will ever meet in your life? I’ll wait.
First discovered this absolute gem of an eatery last year after one of Chris and I’s many, many rambles in the Peaks (side note: they are closed on Tuesdays, which is what we discovered on our first attempt to eat here – so what did we do, changed our walks to Monday’s). I have got to say, this place is a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good country pub serving rustic pub grub with big portions, and to be quite honest, that is probably what I expected from The Bridge. Hold up, tapas food? Yes. In the heart of Derbyshire, just outside of Baslow, in the small village of Calver, sits a tapas paradise. Serving inspiring and fresh dishes that challenge the norm when it comes to your ideas of traditional Spanish food. The chefs here are skilled genius’s and produce some of the finest quality menu options with inventive flavours you just wouldn’t believe you could find in the countryside.
As I said, we discovered this place early on last year, so we have visited quite a few times since. This review is on my most recent visit, where after one of our muddy walks we actually attempted to try somewhere new: Charlie’s bistro. We were treated terribly. I’m not sure if it’s because we were in walking gear and we didn’t look the part, or they were just really busy but after sitting at a table for over 40 minutes to be ignored by the staff who happily fetched menu’s and drinks for customers who had just walked in- it was hard to not take it personally. We really wanted to try the food- but after noticing that none of our fellow diners had any in front of them, and a lot of people were still sat with menu’s, we realised we may be waiting quite a while, so decided to leave. Feeling a little deflated we thought we would go to The Bridge- somewhere we have never felt let down. Why didn’t we just go straight there? THE FOOD IS ALWAYS SO CONSISTENTLY AMAZING.
We were greeted instantly by two smiley and friendly young women- and a roaring fire, which is such a nice feature in their bar area. We were offered a table, but as usual they were more than happy to accommodate our game of musical chairs and our waitress was fine with our selection of a larger table by the window. After deciding on a bottle of our fave Savvy B (New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc) we set about the process of elimination with the menu. As we have been a few times, we know what our favourites are, if you have read my other post’s before you may be aware that with tapas food, we like to indulge, but also try at least one dish we haven’t tried before. Today, that was The Bridge Inn’s very own take on a tapas style “fish and chips”. We ordered our heavily seafood and vegetarian based meal – mainly because, I don’t eat meat (Thanks Chris!) and sat and waited for the embarrassing number of dishes to start turning up.
Today we ordered a modest amount of food compared to our usual feast, but clearly this was still a large amount. And wow. I mean, I have a soft spot for those cherry peppers even though I am sure they have the least amount of prep time-but a meal at The Bridge is not complete without them… and the patatas bravas. If you go, you will join me in thinking that their patatas bravas is by far the BEST you’ve tasted. And if you disagree, well, you’re wrong.
Our dishes keep coming out, and our waitress, Emily, helps me move them into the most instagrammable positions- because clearly, she knows the importance of good lighting and positioning for a photo. She stops to chat to us between bringing out our dishes and serving other tables and she just confirms what it is that makes this place so special for us. Not only is the food beyond comparison but the service we receive from Emily and her colleagues, goes above that from any other restaurant. Period. Funny and attentive, Emily was so much fun to be around and we very much enjoyed talking with her about the food, food in general, her favourite places to eat (other than The Bridge of course) and sharing with her where we like to eat too, she is an absolute credit to the place, as are all of the other members of staff we have had the pleasure of meeting over the past year.
Back to the food: Un-Be-Lievable (that was surprisingly difficult to spell once I had broken it up?) as always, the food was delicious, it really is something you HAVE to go and try for yourself as it truly is an experience. The fish and chips were amazing – and completely different from what I had imagined. I had thought it would basically be a miniature version of the British classic but it was in fact the complete opposite, a beautifully cooked cod fillet (NOT BATTERED!) sat atop minted mushy peas which were adorned with crisp-like “chips” – a very refreshing take and non-stodgy version, sprinkled with vinegar powder for a real aromatic punch!
So, if I haven’t convinced you to go from what I have wrote, I think you owe it to me, no, YOURSELF, to prove me wrong and have a terrible time with horrible food and bad service. Hahaha… good luck. I would love to hear from you- and hear about your experience at The Bridge, as it really is a proper gem in the beautiful area of Derbyshire. So, what are you waiting for?! Book yourself a table and enjoy a cocktail in the British sunshine. I’ll see you there!